Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Brains Vs. Brawn: Ladies Haul Ass

I just checked in on Livey, and saw the most hilarious pix on how she hauled her wood.

She used to have this POS truck. She used it for pulling down trees and plowing snow off her roof and chasing bears, but she sold it. She still had a lot of wood to haul and stack before the winter snows set in. What to do?

Well. She tried a wheelbarrow.

It worked okay. But since she had like 1800 cord of wood to haul, and the wheelbarrow doesn't hold that much, and required a disproportionate amount of physical labor, and she's been getting tired and sore - she thought some more.

She has an ATV.

She has a couple sled-type things you can attach to the back of the ATV, and slide stuff.

So she attached one of the sleds and tried that. Much better!

As projects tend to do, it kind of grew. Eventually, she had both sleds attached to the ATV, and then - she figured out a way to attach the wheelbarrow too.


Maybe it looks silly, but hey, it works. She's almost done.

This sounds exACTly like something I would do.

As a matter of sounds exactly like something I DID do.

I've been trying to figure out how to do a sort of hurricane retrospective. Wilma was a year ago October 24, and Katrina two months before that. GrannyJ said she'd like to see some links for the hurricane posts. But when I realized it was like half of my archives, I just couldn't figure out how to put it together - except to say: for Wilma, begin reading October, 2005; for Katrina, start at August 24, 2005. Some great pix in there for Katrina, when I was driving my car through the eyewall of the hurricane - and shooting pix through the windshield the whole way.

After Wilma I went on a Plant Rescue spree. We had all these plants downed and stacked by the side of the road, mixed in with the hurricane trash. I mean, these were continuous debris piles lining both sides of all streets, around 5' high and 5' deep. They were there for weeks and weeks. Many contained plants that could easily be rooted - plumeria, bromeliads, *air plants,* Peruvian cereus - that's a cactus that looks like saguaro but isn't.

Day after day after day I collected plants and wood and all sorts of things in the Saturn, and hauled them home. I kept on until one day I just dropped from exhaustion. Fortunately, this was right around when most of the good stuff was already hauled off by The Claw.

One of my last big plant rescues was right down my street, just a block away. Really a half-block, by city standards. My neighbors had a huge amount of this Peruvian cereus downed, and wanted me to take it and plant it if I could. Hey. Twist my arm.

I thought it was some kind of euphorbia, not a true cactus. I was wrong. Not only is it a true cactus, blogdad Desert Cat has one like it in his yard. We had some simultaneous blooms this spring.

The biggest piece turned out to be 16' long - I measured it. I thought it was 12-15 feet and weighing 100 pounds, but it was 16 feet and around 150-200 pounds. A very fine find indeed. to haul it home?

Answer: Story and pix below!

PS - The original text post is November 23, 2005. Since I didn't know how to post pix very well at the time, each pic was a different post. So if you want to see the original text and pics, visit the archives for November, 2005, and go to November 23. After that are the pix - keep paging down just like reading a continuous post.

The One I Got; The One That Got Away

The one that got away was a picture.

A couple days ago, setting out on errands, I saw a car turning into my neighborhood dragging something behind it. This car was maybe a little SUV - excuse please, I have a missing part where most people's Car Knowledge goes.

Anyway, it had no trailer hitch. Instead there were a couple of light chains hooked up to its bumper. On the other end of the chains - with no trailer, no container, no packing, just its own unadorned self - was a very nice big stump.

Someone had scarfed the stump and was dragging it home. Bumping its butt on the street as it went.

I found this sight quite funny.

Me, I didn't have my camera ready. I got it out and turned around and tried to chase the thing down, but they ditched me. I passed by the retired Police Chief, an excellent observant witness, and stopped. I know, absolutely, that he wouldn't have missed it if it went by. Did you see them? I asked hopefully. Did they come this way? Nope.

No pic.

It did, however, give me an Idea.

The initial intense Plant Retrieval phase of Operation Plant Rescue (Wilma) is nearing an end. The best vegetation debris has been removed, and my back yard is crammed full. There did remain one last important bit.

This consisted of several 10-15 foot lengths of "cactus" down the street at Tom and Norman's house. They were good enough to give them to me, if I could retrieve them. They thought I could cut them up into smaller pieces. Small enough to handle.

Ha! Think again.

As much as I can, I'm leaving plants big. We all lost enough big stuff.

So yesterday morning, I carted home several shorter lengths, and one quite long one. The shorter ones I strapped to my upright 2-wheel dolly - aka hand truck - and walked them home. The long one I ended up balancing on my bun and walking it home, too.

Buns are useful.

I think I read a bit much National Geographic as a child. I grew up with great admiration for those ladies native to interesting foreign lands, where they balance big loads of water or food or wood on their heads. Such excellent posture they have.

In finishing school, all they use to teach posture and balance and grace is a book on the head. Cheap dumb pointless substitute. Why in the world would anyone need to transport a book on one's head? Are modern "civilized" ladies so weak they can't carry a book in their arms like a normal person?


On the way home, gracefully balancing my load on my head and walking with fine posture, I happened to pass a nice English couple walking their dog. With true British phlegm, they politely nodded Hello and carefully ignored my fifteen foot long head cactus.

I said, Okay. I know this looks silly. It's all right, I don't mind.

They laughed and visibly relaxed and asked, How do you root it?

Well, you just stick it in the ground and up it goes. It looks like saguaro cactus but I think it's some kind of Euphorbia. It's really easy to grow. In a couple of months I'll have a big Plant Sale, come on down!

No sense passing up a little marketing opportunity.

Today, I had one last piece to retrieve, the biggest, fanciest, prettiest one of all.

It's 12-15 feet long, has several nice branches, and probably weighs at least 100 pounds. Too much for even MY powerful bun.

I thought and thought. I thought about that stump, bumping along behind a car. And decided.

A couple of houses down I saw just what I needed sitting in a debris pile. This was a large child's pool, hard plastic, with sections cut out of each end. In the furniture shipping trade we called this sort of thing a "slide." I scarfed it and took it down to Tom and Norman's.

I put the top end of the cactus in the tub, the bottom end in the back of the Saturn, and bungied the tub to the car.

And wouldn't you know it - right then, a cop cruised by. I sat in the driver's seat not moving, looking as innocent as I could. I really don't want to get a ticket that describes illegal cactus-hauling activities in a child's pool bungied to the car.

Sheesh. I'd find myself on an Oddly Enough news page. With like an $18,000 fine, and a judge cracking up at me. Putting me out on the street wearing a cardboard sign that says, I UNSAFELY DRAG HUGE CACTUS DOWN STREET BEHIND SATURN IN CHILD'S WADING POOL!!!

I'm particularly vulnerable since I have a medium truck driver's license and they expect us to know better. I duck down a little lower.

hee hee! He's gone. I peep in the rear-view mirror. I see he's really only hiding by the fire station. He left the car's behind sticking out like a cat hiding under a rug, tail out, thinking he's invisible. I figure he's probably hitting up the firemen for donuts and won't bother me till after breakfast.

I start the car. Will the bungies hold? Will the tub slide?


I tool down the street at 1 mile per hour. It's working so well I ratchet it up to 2. Whee!

I'm trying really, really hard not to giggle out loud. My neighbors think I'm strange enough as it is.

Uh-oh. Turning into the driveway is a bit more complicated. These plants like to break in half when you bend them. I stop the car, move the Supercan out of the way, and push the tub through the curve so I can drive pretty much straight in, without the car turning the tub.

It works!

I proudly view my accomplishment. I take pics. I declare Break Time. So here I am.

I got it.

Another exceptional Plant Rescue, completed.

Buffy Walks Away... Tom and Norman's Buffy the Cat looks like my Babycat's brother. Baby brother. Buffy's only 15. Baby's 21.

Buffy's in the middle of this pic, walking away. He detected Nefarious Human Activities That Could Endanger One's Tail, and wisely relocated himself.

...And Settles in to Watch the Show
From a safe distance, that is.

Assemble Your Ingredients
Tub on left. Plant on right. Posted by Picasa

Render Spines Less Deadly
Just because it's not a true cactus doesn't mean it can't bite.

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